Black Lives Matter Protest

How Do We Talk to Each Other? Storytelling for Racial Justice

In 1776, America’s forebears declared that “all men are created equal.” Twelve years later, they developed their plan for “a more perfect Union.” While not unprecedented, these acts were unique enough to be dubbed the “American Experiment.” Such ideals are still venerated, but as America moves toward its 250th anniversary, we must face the difficult truths which underpin these concepts. Those who declared “all men are created equal” did not include enslaved persons. Those who formed “a more perfect Union” counted Black people as three-fifths human.

Fortunately, the shortcomings of the past need not dictate the future, and the American Experiment is not complete. In the twelfth and final event in our Freedom Stories series, we will explore ways to engage in constructive dialogue and present tips on how to use storytelling to advance racial justice. This special two-hour presentation will include performance and discussion from Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye, Founder, President, and CEO of Healing Through the Sound of Music and creator of the one-woman show, “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story;” Lecia Brooks, Chief of Staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center; Trina Jackson, Education Team Coordinator at the Highlander Center; and Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center. Their discussion will be moderated by Freedom Stories Project Director, Dr. Alicestyne Turley. 

Together, we can continue unearthing the stories which surround us, and more fully realize our forebears’ ideals.

This event is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and with the support of our friends at the National Association of Black Storytellers – NABS, Green McAdoo Cultural Center, Appalachian African American Cultural Center, Black/White Dialogue, Black in Appalachia, ETSU Leadership and Civic Engagement, Heritage Alliance, Langston Centre, McKinney Center, Northeast Tennessee Tourism, and Historic Jonesborough.


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Kiran Singh Sirah
Kiran Singh Sirah is the former President of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), and participant in the Freedom Stories Project. ISC is an educational and cultural institution dedicated to enriching...
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Trina P. Jackson
Trina (she/her/cuz), a Georgia native, works at the Highlander Research and Education Center as the Education Team Coordinator. There, she leads Highlander’s Education Team with grassroots organizing and movement building...
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Lecia Brooks
Lecia Brooks is the chief of staff for the SPLC, where she provides counsel to senior leadership, assists with strategic planning and works with people from across the organization to...
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Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye is an internationally acclaimed singer actress, and playwright of the multi-award-winning one-woman play, “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story.” Her Swahili name means...

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